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The best times to save money on purchases

» The Best time to buy everything from baby clothes, to airplane tickets, to groceries.  [ 07/18/07 ]

6 savings secrets from Frugal Fanny

» 6 Savings Secrets from 'Frugal Fanny' (1) Comments  / [ 06/14/07 ]

The (Organic) Thrifty Food Plan Challenge

» Whole Wheat Mushroom PizzaI'm still tweaking the website, but I'd like to introduce my latest project: The (Organic) Thrifty Food Plan Challenge Eating Organic on a Food Stamp Budget. (I've been persuaded that the second one is a snappier name.)

We eat well. Maybe a little too well, judging from our waistlines. And we eat pretty inexpensively, too. So the recent spate of publicity about Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski's committment to eat food totalling only $21 for one week (the amount an average Oregon food stamp recipient receives) caught my attention.

Now, the Governor's stunt is a little misleading: no one expects The government doesn't expect food stamp recipients to eat on only $21 a week (though I'm sure some people try). The USDA's Thrifty Food Plan [pdf] (from which food stamp allotments are derived) is spartan enough, but the most recent figures provide an adult male between the ages of 20 and 50 years of age with $35.40 a week for food—part of which will be provided by food stamps, and part by the individual, depending on their income. Regardless, the Governor's point is well taken. It's not a lot of money to spend on a week's worth of food.

I pride myself on my thrifty shopping habits. I've also been fortunate in these last few years to be able to afford to buy organic and locally grown fresh food most of the time. So I've decided to take the Governor's challenge a step further. I'd like to see if I can feed the two of us for one month on a "Thrifty Food Plan" budget using organic food. My budget: 74.00/week or 320.80/month, the USDA "Thrifty" standard for a family of 2 adults, aged 20-50 years.

I just completed my first week. I spent more than I thought I would, but in general, I think it's going pretty well. You can read today's entry, how I'm accounting for individual items, my Sunday's week-end summary, or just start at the beginning and read from there.  (3) Comments  / [ 05/08/07 ]

10 Things Your Auto Dealer Won't Tell You

» 10 Things Your Auto Dealer Won't Tell You. Better read this before you buy a new or used car. (via dm(1) Comments  / [ 03/20/07 ]

Bringing Home Baby Money Myths

» Thrifty Infants: Money myths about affording a new baby. Um, washing diapers is "gross"? Honestly, if you can't handle a dirty diaper, you're simply not equipped for parenthood. There's plenty of grossitude ahead. (1) Comments  / [ 09/28/06 ]

The ugly truth about ARMs

» Yikes! More on those Adjusted Rate Mortgages—and how they are going to fuel the bust.

There's no way to camouflage what Harold, a former computer technician who asked BusinessWeek not to publish his last name, is about to face. He's disabled and has one source of income: the $1,600 per month he receives in Social Security disability payments. In September, 2005, Harold refinanced out of a fixed-rate mortgage and into an option ARM for his $150,000 home in Chicago. The minimum monthly payment for the first year is $899, which he can afford. The interest-only payment is $1,329, which he can't. The fully amortized payment is $1,454, which his lender, Washington Mutual gets to count on its books.

(via rc3oi(1) Comments  / [ 09/07/06 ]

How to Get Rich

» From Ramen to Riches: How to Get There [ 09/05/06 ]

Cheap Travel for recent graduates

» Get Rich Slowly has some great advice on how recent graduates can provide themselves with a year or two of world travel—on the cheap. "Develop a travel plan that is so amazing, so glowing, that you are willing to walk blurry-eyed to work everyday to make the money necessary to reach the light. I don’t recommend a career job (there’ll be time for that later) and I don’t recommend just one job. [...] On my own, I have traveled to Thailand, India, Nepal, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Canada, Mexico, along with several treks across the United States. [...] I traveled for almost two years to all of the places listed above—all without using a credit card."  [ 06/08/06 ]

Reflections on the revival of 'wet shaving'

» A Little Weekend Reading: The Best a Man Can Get, a reflection on the revival of Wet Shaving.

"After the age of forty, every man is responsible for his own face." This aphorism, most commonly attributed to Albert Camus, was comforting when I heard it in my twenties.... Now I am 38, two years away from Camus's benchmark.... Alas, unless the next two years bring a sudden Botox-like transformation, the face I will be responsible for in my forties and beyond has quite as many faults as the one I was not responsible for in my twenties. And without a doubt, wet shaving has only made me more conscious of the face I am about to be responsible for. [...]
But if Camus's slogan is no longer comforting, it has become bracing. Just in time, at the age of 38, I have learned how to shave. I have become responsible for my own face.

  [ 04/28/06 ]

How not to raise self-entitled smug little jerks

» How to beat the Midas curse. Why 9 out of 10 affluent families lose their wealth by the end of the third generation. "If you transfer wealth to the next generation without preparing them, it's bad for them, and it gnaws at the fabric of a vibrant and productive society." Stuart Lucas, fourth-generation heir to the Carnation fortune.  [ 03/17/06 ]

Anarchy Rules

» Just as I'm settling happily into middle class respectability, along comes this article depicting the joys of being middle-aged in a shared, anarchist household. (via dm [ 03/17/06 ]

US Savings Lowest Since Depression

» For the first time since the Great Depression, the US savings rate is in negative numbers. "A lot of us are approaching retirement and a lot of us are approaching it with much too little saved up. They're either going to depend on Social Security, which is hardly a good bet given the state of the federal government's finances, or they're going to be taking early retirement at the age of 75." David Wyss, an economist with Standard and Poor's.

I found the 3 questions the Kinder Institute of Life Planning ask their clients to be interesting:

  [ 03/09/06 ]

Money-Saving Secrets

» Money-Saving Secrets [slithy popup!]. It's from Real Simple, which always seems like it's just another magazine designed to get you to buy more things, but maybe with cleaner lines — but this list has some decent suggestions. Any additions? What are your favorite "plugs"? (via jc(2) Comments  / [ 02/14/06 ]

Money Makeover

» Ramit is taking you step by step to get your financial house in order for the New Year. This week: Get Your Accounts in Order [ 01/13/06 ]

Credit cards

» Consumer Reports: Credit cards: They really are out to get you. Links to the rest of the report are in the top right-hand corner of the story. "In 2003 [penalty fees], along with fees for cash advances, exceeded the after-tax profits of the entire credit-card industry just two years earlier. Card issuers have been experiencing record profits since 2000 and saw them top $30 billion in 2004."  [ 01/11/06 ]



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